Sunday, June 13, 2010

Review: Sea by Heidi R. Kling

by Heidi R. Kling
Release Date:  June 10, 2010
2010 G.P. Putnam's Sons
ISBN: 978-0-399-25163-4
Softcover Edition; 336 Pages
Genre: Young Adult
Source: ARC from Penguin Canada

5 / 5 Stars

Sienna Jones has had a hard time dealing with the loss of her mother three years ago in a place crash over the Indian Ocean.  Nightmares and fears of the ocean and planes haunt her.  So when her father asks Sienna to join his international relief team for two weeks of her summer vacation to help tsunami orphans cope with their losses, she thinks he must be kidding or crazy or both.

What she finds there is the most handsome boy she's ever seen.  Their connection is instant and true, so when he hears word that his father may have survived the awful tsunami after all, Sienna doesn't hesitate to run away with him to the epicenter of the tsunami disaster.  She knows they're taking a huge risk, bu she doesn't expect that what they find might break both their hearts...

My Thoughts
Sea is the debut novel by Heidi R. Kling and I absolutely loved it.  It is a compelling jaunt to another culture, and another world, where we get a look at the lives of troubled young orphans whose lives were turned upside down in the aftermath of the terrible destruction of the tsunami that destroyed everything these people have ever known.  I found it heartbreaking, but at the same time, I found it to be joyful and hopeful. 

Sienna is a wonderful principal character and I connected with her immediately.  I think anyone who has lost someone important in their lives will connect with Sienna and her grief as she tries to identify with a world that terrifies her.  She demonstrates a lot of growth as a person throughout this novel and I felt like I was right there along with her as she experienced these remarkable things in her life, things that made her open her eyes to the possibility of life going on after her mother's death.  She demonstrated compassion and courage in a lot of situations, even one so simple as using the washroom.  I am well-travelled, but even I blanched the first time I had to use a washroom the way it was described to Sienna in the book and it brought back a lot of memories of my earlier travels and my mortification as I realized that people do not live the way that I live at home.

I really enjoyed the interactions of the secondary characters in the novel.  I like the relationship that Sienna has with her father as it's so real; this is not a novel about teen angst and fighting with her parent, but about reconnecting with her world and I really enjoyed that.  I would have loved to have gotten to know Tom a little better as he seems like quite a character, but it really wasn't about him.  The relationship between Sienna and Deni was sweet and romantic; every girl should have a romance like that in her life.  Both Sienna and Deni shared devastating losses in their life and were able to share that loss with each other.  They were able to communicate and help each other deal with the grief that comes with such devastating loss and understand how the other person feels.  I understood right away why Sienna would want to help Deni in his search for his father as without hope we would wither and die.  I like how impulsive they are, how they just want to hop on a plane and go, as it shows how young they are and the impulsivity of youth.

The setting itself was extremely interesting.  I love the cultural tidbits that are included and the behaviours and norms one must follow if one is to fit in, especially the doctors if they want to be allowed to return to do their missionary work.  While we heard so much about the tsunami during the actual event and in the weeks that followed, very little was heard months afterward and this book is great for explaining some of things that were still occurring even six months after.  It is important that these things are not forgotten and are brought back to our attention as help is always needed.

Sea was a fantastic debut novel and I enjoyed it tremendously.  It captured my attention right from the beginning and I had a difficult time putting it down.  It was a sweet, romantic novel, set in the midst of devastation and chaos, but demonstrates the power of love and hope and how people can help each other heal.  I am definitely looking forward to more novels by this author.


  1. Great Review!!! One I am going to have to put on my TBR list for sure!!!

  2. Fantastic review! I really want to read this book because it deals with the tsunami (and it just sounds like a great story). I am currently reading a nonfiction book that covers the effects and aftermath of the tsunami in Sri Lanka. Really hard to read about it.

    By the way, I absolutely love the new look of your blog. It is beautiful! I will add the button to my blog roll.

  3. The book was really great!

    And thank you for the lovely comment on my new blog. It is still a work in progress but I really love the new look. Time to start participating in Bloggiesta in order to fix up a few things.

  4. Oh, I want to get to it right now! I better go read White Cat so I can read Sea! Great review!
    One reason I wanted the book so badly was because of the setting, so I'm glad to hear that aspect certainly didn't disappoint!

    Oh, and I forgot to mention I love your new look! Very beautiful colors!